I aim to write blog posts and articles on a variety of health-related topics, and this includes healthy food. So I thought I’d throw in an easy and healthy plant-based recipe this time around. Plus, I’m about to complete my Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional Certification course and am cooking constantly right now, so food is on my mind.
As the weather gets warmer and I start to have access to more vegetables and herbs available in my garden, I tend to gravitate more to lighter pasta dishes that highlight vegetables and herbs. There is an endless variety of ingredients that you can combine to make a vibrantly colored and healthy pasta dish. The recipe below is one example, but feel free to use it as a template to come up with your own version! Other ingredients that are equally delicious are summer squash (yellow or green), roasted red peppers, cherry tomatoes, rainbow chard, spinach, and fresh basil and oregano.
A few notes:
- You can easily substitute a gluten free pasta if you’d like. My favorite brand of gluten free pasta is bionaturae because the taste and texture are the closest to traditional pasta of all the options I’ve tried over the years (and you don’t have to rinse it like you do with brown rice pasta). In the Seattle area, I’ve found this brand at PCC, Whole Foods, and Central Market.
- To lighten up the dish and keep the calories low, I wanted to use very little olive oil. So instead of cooking the pasta and tossing it in olive oil to keep it from sticking while making the rest of the dish, I cooked the pasta and the sauce side by side on the stove and mixed the two together just before serving. I garnished the finished portions with a little olive oil right before serving, to keep the dish from being too dry and to give it a little extra flavor.
- I have baby kale in my garden right now, so I used the leaves whole. However, if you’re using full sized kale, you’ll want to remove the stalk and roughly chop the leaves. You also may need to cook the kale for a little longer to get it to wilt.
This recipe made 3-4 portions as a main dish but would go a little farther if served with a side salad.
- ½ of a small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 3 cups of baby kale leaves
- ½ of a fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup quartered artichoke hearts
- 1 cup canned or fresh diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- ½ tbsp. lemon juice
- 8 oz. angel hair (or gluten free pasta)
- Salt and pepper
- Extra lemon wedges
- Olive oil
- Fennel fronds
- Dice the onions.
- Finely dice the shallot.
- Prepare the kale leaves (see note above).
- Core and thinly slice the fennel bulb.
- Slice the olives.
- Chop the parsley.
- Cut the artichoke hearts to desired size. I cut the quarters in half again.
Making the Dish
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly salt the diced onion and shallot and cook until soft. The moisture in the vegetables should keep them from sticking to the skillet, but add a spoonful or two of water if needed to prevent sticking. Stir frequently.
- Turn heat down to medium-low and add the kale leaves. Cook until slightly wilted.
- Turn heat to low and add the fennel slices, olives, tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir. Heat this mixture until well combined and heated through (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine all ingredients. Add the lemon juice and parsley just before removing the skillet from the heat.
- For each plated portion, garnish with a combination of fresh lemon juice, a small drizzle of olive oil (optional), fennel fronds, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
I’ve completely transformed my health both by learning how to cook and switching to a plant-based diet. It didn’t happen overnight, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. If you want help learning how to cook, support as you improve your eating habits, and/or professional expertise in how to improve the ergonomics of your kitchen, I’m here to help! Contact me and let me know how I can support you!